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4 April 2024 - Jann Raveling

Have you watered your pencil today?

Startups

Scribbling Seeds Offers Sustainable Office Supplies with Incorporated Flower and Vegetable Seeds

Scribbling Seeds
The two founders Anushree Jain and Paramjit Kohli © WFB/Jann Raveling

More and more companies are focusing on sustainability when it comes to office materials and promotional products. Where they don't want to do without paper and pencils, the Bremen-based company Scribbling Seeds offers environmentally friendly alternatives that avoid waste and create something new.

Put the pencil stub in the flower bed, bury the greeting card in the ground, give it a little water and then wait. After just a few days, the first shoots sprout from the discarded office materials and grow into dill, parsley, basil, tomatoes or chard in a few weeks. The rest will decompose.

Writing Feels Better with a Green Thumb

A second life instead of a landfill site - that is Anushree Jain's idea. Born in India, she came to Bremen five and a half years ago to do her Master of Business Administration here, but stayed because of the city: she loves the greenery and tranquility of Germany's greenest city.

Now she wants to give something back to nature and has invented Scribbling Seeds. A range of advertising and office materials that incorporate seeds from flowers and useful plants. Calendars, pens, greeting or business cards, wax crayons, gift ribbons and much more.

"Every company can individualize the products, have their own logos and texts printed, just like with other advertising products," she explains.

Sustainability is more than just a gimmick at Scribbling Seeds. The inks are all biodegradable and food-safe. The paper comes from 100% recycled waste paper and materials.

Pencils from Scribbling Seeds
The pens from Scribbling Seeds have small seed capsules embedded at the end of the pen. © WFB/Jann Raveling

Ensuring Better Living Conditions in India

"Social sustainability is also important to us. We employ small communities in India, where marginalized population groups such as women often work, to produce our materials. Our organic seeds come from small farmers who work sustainably, not from the big seed companies. And the waste paper is collected by hand by local workers, for whom we offer a secure source of income," she adds.

The materials arrive in Bremen by sea - and have a short journey via Bremerhaven. Another reason why Anushree Jain appreciates the location. A further advantage is the great awareness of sustainability: "Germany, but also Europe, is ahead of many other regions in this respect. But we can achieve much more, and I want to help with that."

Her customers are mainly medium-sized companies that buy her products in large quantities. She has not yet planned to sell directly to end consumers, as it would be too expensive to set up a shipping infrastructure.

"But we are only at the very beginning. We officially launched in January 2024 after three months of preparation and are now in the process of drawing attention to ourselves everywhere. So a lot can still happen," says the Indian, who is working on her vision together with her partner and first employee.

Calenders from Scribbling Seeds
Tuck the paper as a whole under the soil - and plants and flowers are already growing. © WFB/Jann Raveling

Support from Bremen to launch her own company

Jain is well connected in Bremen. She works in the World Trade Center office of her co-founder Paramjit Kohli, who has been running his own trading company, New Ideas Craft, in Bremen since 2011. "When I heard her idea for the first time, I was immediately hooked," says Kohli. "It's great to work with sustainable products."

The three of them collaborated with Bremen University of Applied Sciences during the start-up process. In a student project in the field of Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship, a team analyzed the business model and developed new ideas and approaches. "That definitely helped us move forward, especially in the areas of marketing and sales," Anushree Jain is pleased to say.

The cooperation came about on the initiative of Bremeninvest's Foreign Business Club. The FBC brings together foreign managing directors and senior executives from international companies with the aim of establishing new contacts, promoting cohesion and strengthening identification with Bremen. In addition to networking meetings, the program includes seminars, lectures, excursions and cooperation projects.

"We are happy to be a member of the Business Club. As with the World Trade Center itself, Bremen creates such good conditions for foreign companies," says Anushree Jain, who worked for major European consumer brands before founding her company in Germany, but felt the need to do more for sustainability and the transition to a greener world. With her plantable pens, she is following this path seed by seed.

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